The Crazy Kitchen: July 2016

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Thursday, 28 July 2016

Cinnamon Raisin Bagels (a bread maker recipe)

The smell of cinnamon bagels takes me back to our time living in the US, so whenever I buy them I take in that smell and reminisce. The kids love cinnamon bagels so I usually buy them every week, but it's one thing that I've never made myself.

After receiving a Russell Hobbs compact bread maker to trial I decided to give them a bash, and let the machine take the hard work out of dough making. For these bagels I used a 1kg basic bread recipe from the booklet included with the machine, with some small amendments.

Cinnamon Raisin Bagels

Cinnamon Raisin Bagels - makes 16

200g water
200g milk
30g melted butter
10g salt
30g caster sugar
600g strong white bread flour
5g cinnamon
7g easy bake yeast
150g raisins (or sultanas)

water bath
large pan half filled with water
40g sugar
1 egg white

  • add all of the ingredients, apart from the raisins, to the pan of the bread maker in the order listed above
  • set the machine to the 'dough' program, adding the raisins after 22 minutes (on the basic bread setting the machine beeps after this time for any additions)
  • leave the machine until the end of the cycle before removing the dough
  • on a lightly floured surface, divide the dough into 16 equal(ish) pieces
  • roll each piece of dough into a flattened ball & make a hole in the centre with your fingers
  • lay the bagels onto baking sheets lined with baking paper, spaced well apart
  • leave to rise for 10 minutes
  • add the sugar to the pan of water & bring to the boil
  • drop 2 or 3 bagels into the water bath for approx 30 seconds each side
  • remove with a slotted spoon and place onto the baking sheets
  • brush the bagels with egg white before baking in a preheated 220C oven for approx 20 -25 minutes, until golden brown
home made bagels are crispy on the outside and lovely and soft and chewy in the centre. Serve sliced in half and spread with butter, or they can be halved and toasted


Cinnamon Raisin BagelsCinnamon Raisin Bagels Cinnamon Raisin Bagels


The Russell Hobbs 23620 compact black bread maker is a very reasonably priced bread maker at £59.99, but it's not short on features. There are all the usual bread, dough and cake programs, along with a program for jam and compote (which I'm yet to try), a 55 minute fast bake and one for gluten free bread. The booklet includes recipes suitable for all the programs, along with 8 recipes for various flavoured gluten free bread. I'm trying out a gluten free poppyseed loaf today so follow me on Instagram to see how that turns out, and to take a look at my previous loaves here, here and here.

Russell Hobbs Bread Maker



I was sent the Russell Hobbs bread maker for this review

Monday, 18 July 2016

Chicken and Vegetables in Barbecue Sauce

This is a lovely family dish that's easy to prepare, and great for midweek meals. It's full of veggies and tender chicken breast. You could use boneless chicken thighs instead, which makes it even tastier, but just increase the cooking time a little.

Chicken and Vegetables in Barbecue Sauce

Chicken and Vegetables in Barbecue Sauce - serves 4/5

1 tbsp olive oil
4 skinless & boneless chicken breasts, halved
5 tbsp barbecue sauce (I used Heinz Classic barbecue sauce)
1 large onion, sliced
3 peppers (red, green & orange), sliced
1 courgette, sliced
beef stock cube
200ml boiling water
400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • heat the oil in a large lidded frying pan or skillet 
  • add 1 tbsp of the barbecue sauce
  • add the chicken breasts and fry for a few minutes each side until browned and the sauce starts to caramelise
  • remove the chicken from the pan and set aside
  • add the onion, peppers & courgette to the pan and fry for a few minutes until starting to soften
  • dissolve the stock cube in the water and stir in the tomatoes and remaining barbecue sauce
  • pour the sauce into the pan and stir to combine the vegetables
  • bring to a simmer, place the lid on and simmer gently for 20 minutes
  • add the chicken back in and simmer for an additional 10 minutes until the chicken is cooked through
  • serve with rice
Chicken and Vegetables in Barbecue Sauce Chicken and Vegetables in Barbecue Sauce Chicken and Vegetables in Barbecue Sauce

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Music in the Forest #ForestLive #WeLoveForests

On Sunday evening I had tickets to see Kaiser Chiefs at Cannock Chase, as part of the Forestry Commision Forest Live events held throughout the Summer (this is Summer incase you've forgotten) at seven forest locations throughout the country.

 photo forest live 2_zpsffjybw5p.jpg

This was to be my third time at a concert in Cannock Chase, with the first being Paul Weller in 2009 and then Jessie J in 2014. They are always a great night, with plenty of atmosphere.

The plan was for myself and the husband to enjoy a very rare night out together, however the night clashed with the Euro 16 final and we lost our babysitter to football & pizza with his mates. In the end I took 7 year old Jack, as he was desperate to go, and his teen sister preferred to stay at home to watch Love Island!

The beauty of going to a concert in the forest is being able to take your own picnic and drinks (in plastic bottles) as well as picnic blankets and chairs. When we got there just after 6pm it was already quite busy, but we set up camp on the hill in the sunshine with a good view of the stage.

 photo IMG_9600_zpswl5jvhto.jpg

The Kaiser Chiefs were supported by two bands, Vitamin and Spring Kings, before the main act coming on at 9pm.

It was a great show, but as Jack had school in the morning we left just after 10pm, missing, from all accounts, an amazing end to the weekend of concerts in The Chase, as can be seen by this amazing photo!



We can't wait to go back again next year, and look forward to seeing who's playing. If you can get to one of the 7 forests next Summer you are definitely sure of a great family night out! (kids under 5 get in free). 


I received tickets for Kaiser Chiefs in exchange for writing this post. 
All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Raspberry & White Chocolate Tarts

Last weekend saw a brief break in the rain long enough to get up to allotment to do some weeding, and whilst up there Jack picked a few raspberries. Some of them were quite ripe, and after a quick wash they were a little on the mushy side. We could've eaten them with vanilla ice cream but as I had a pack of puff pastry nearing it's use by date I thought tarts would make a nice dessert.

Raspberry & White Chocolate Tarts
Making these couldn't be simpler, as they require zero cooking skills or effort, although if you want to refine your baking skills and learn some new tricks of the trade, corporate cooking classes could work for you.

Raspberry & White Chocolate Tarts

Raspberry & White Chocolate Tarts - makes 8

320g pack of ready rolled puff pastry
2 tbsp milk
approx 200g ripe raspberries
1 tbsp caster sugar
75g good quality white chocolate

  • slice the pastry sheet into 8 equal pieces
  • lay the pastry onto a large baking tray (or 2 smaller ones) lined with baking paper
  • brush the pastry sheets with milk
  • gently mash the raspberries with the back of a fork
  • spoon the raspberries into the centre of each pastry sheet and spread over the sheet, leaving approx 2cm around the edge
  • sprinkle the sugar over each sheet, including around the edge
  • bake in a 200C oven for approx 20 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown and puffed up
  • allow to cool before drizzling with melted white chocolate


Raspberry & White Chocolate Tarts Raspberry & White Chocolate Tarts Raspberry & White Chocolate Tarts

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Seriously Good Strawberry & Lemon Cheesecake Spoonfuls

Do you ever fancy dessert but know that if you bake a pie or cake you're going to end up eating it all? Or you want to make a dessert for a dinner party but your cheesecake serving skills aren't up to scratch, and you end up slopping it onto the plate upside down. I can relate to both of these, which is why I like making individual desserts in jars or glasses, such as these quick and easy family dessertslemon prosecco syllabubs or these shot glass trifles.

When I heard about the Heinz [Seriously] Good Spoonfuls competition it gave me the idea to create an individual serving of cheesecake on a spoon. The only catch is that the recipe would need to contain the new mayonnaise from Heinz, their [Seriously] Good Mayonnaise, made from free range eggs and containing no added colours, flavours, preservatives or artificial thickeners.

Not sold on the idea of mayonnaise in a cheesecake? Well, feast your eyes on these little beauties. A perfect mouthful, and nobody would guess the secret ingredient. Using mayonnaise in biscuits is a great shortcut as there's no need to wait for your butter to soften, and it mixes easily with your other ingredients.

Seriously Good Strawberry & Lemon Dessert Spoon Cheesecakes

Seriously Good Strawberry & Lemon Cheesecake Spoonfuls - makes 4

biscuit base
1 tbsp Heinz [Seriously] Good Mayonnaise
1 tbsp caster sugar
pinch of lemon zest
2 tbsp plain flour
4 dessert spoons

  • add the ingredients to a small bowl
  • mix together to form a ball of dough
  • divide the dough into 4 equal pieces and roll into balls
  • place the balls of dough onto a baking sheet lined with baking paper
  • press the balls with your fingertips to form a disc approx 4-5cm in diameter 
  • bake in a preheated 180C oven for 10 minutes, until lightly browned
  • whilst still warm and soft, press each biscuit onto your dessert spoons
  • leave to cool


cheesecake topping
3 tbsp full fat cream cheese
1 tsp Heinz [Seriously] Good Mayonnaise
1 tsp caster sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
pinch of lemon zest
sliced strawberries for decoration

  • in a small bowl, whisk the cream cheese, mayonnaise, sugar, lemon juice and zest together in a bowl, until thick
  • spoon or pipe onto the biscuit bases and top with a slice of strawberry


They really are [seriously] good!

Seriously Good Strawberry & Lemon Dessert Spoon Cheesecakes Seriously Good Strawberry & Lemon Dessert Spoon Cheesecakes Seriously Good Strawberry & Lemon Dessert Spoon Cheesecakes Seriously Good Strawberry & Lemon Dessert Spoon Cheesecakes

If you think you have what it takes to create a [seriously] good spoonful, either sweet or savoury, you could be in with a chance of winning a fab prize!

More details and Terms and Conditions of the competition can be found here. Check out other entries by following the hashtag #heinzseriouslygood .

Seriously Good Strawberry & Lemon Dessert Spoon Cheesecakes



this post has been commissioned by Heinz

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